The health care company formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a name — Haven — and will focus on improving access to primary care, lowering prescription drug costs, and making insurance benefits easier to understand, the joint venture announced Wednesday.
The Boston-based company also said it is opening an office in New York and launched its website, which offers a general road map describing its effort to use new technologies and data analysis to upend traditional methods of doing business in health care.
“We will create new solutions and work to change systems, technologies, contracts, policy, and whatever else is in the way of better health care,” Dr. Atul Gawande, the company’s chief executive, wrote in a letter posted on the website. “We will be relentless. We will insure our work has high impact and is sustainable.”
The company said it will operate as a nonprofit focused solely on serving the 1.2 million employees of its three founders, but eventually hopes to create models for improving care that might apply more broadly to other companies and patients.
The announcement is the first public release of information about the focus and activities of the company since its formation in January 2018, when CEOs of its three founders set off alarms across the industry by declaring their intention to take on health care’s inefficiencies and excess costs.
The company said it chose the name Haven to reflect its desire to be a haven for patients and all ideas that may improve health care services and make them more affordable.
It discloses on its website that the board will be made up of members of the three founding companies, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon; Todd Combs, an investment officer of Berkshire Hathaway; Beth Galetti, a vice president of Amazon; and Gawande.
Gawande emphasized in his letter that Haven is “an advocate for the patient and an ally to anyone” interested in changing health care and lowering costs, including insurers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers. The company is also actively recruiting software engineers, data scientists, and clinicians to join its ranks.
Since its formation, the company has drawn intense interest from the public and potential competitors. In recent weeks, Gawande’s company has become the focus of a legal drama involving the health giant Optum, which sued to block one of its former executives from starting work at the joint venture over concerns about the potential stealing of trade secrets. Optum’s request for a temporary restraining order was denied. But the case revealed the concern health industry incumbents have about Haven’s potential to disrupt their business, and testimony in the suit offered early hints about the venture’s efforts to make health insurance more intelligible and basic services more attainable.
In his letter, Gawande asserts that people who are able to maintain access to health services and preventive care, as well as affordable medications, are able to live to more than 80 years on average, with a high quality of life. “The advances in modern medicine have been remarkable, but even with insurance, many Americans do not have the basics … because patients don’t consistently get the right care for their needs.”